In the UK, we get pears in season for a good portion of the year – but winter is when it really kicks off, with varieties ranging beyond the faithful Conference. There are around 550 types in Britain, and a lot of them sound like something you’d expect to find in Care of Magical Creatures class, but the shelves are dominated by just four. As imported varieties typically test highly for pesticides, it’s worth making the most of the UK’s pear seasons while it’s here. So what do we make with them? Continue reading
They’re the brightest food market indictor of autumn, as well as being a versatile and storable staple ingredient: oh my gourd, squash season is upon us.
We love a butternut squash soup (and its variants) as much as any cosy-seeker, but when it comes to branching out to the myriad other varieties, it can be a minefield. Will the skin of an acorn squash destroy a peeler? Can you cook anything beyond pie with a pumpkin? It’s time to find out. Continue reading
The tree’s up – the traditional red baubles and white lights, despite my attempt to trick the flatmates into allowing wonderfully tacky coloured lights and my lusting over the pink and white baubles from Junk and Glitter – the first glass(es) of mulled wine have been drunk, and the “What do you want for Christmas?” texts have both arrived and been sent. So naturally, it’s time to think about the food and drink. You’ll notice I say that as if “thinking about food” isn’t my permanent state.
An evening at Harrods, for the launch of their hampers, showed how decadent Christmas food can be – any present with big quantities of cheese and booze is good in my book, and there were plenty of options that weren’t more than my monthly income – and this month’s list is no different. Continue reading
I might call this “Surprise Victory Cake”, instead of its actual descriptive name, because I did not expect this to work, and my god, it did. It really did.
I just about half-followed a recipe: made the topping up as I went along; tasted and guessed at the spice quantities; set to work bringing it all together with bowls strewn around the kitchen. The mixing stage was nerve-wracking, and for a split second, I wondered if it was a a waste of time and ingredients.
But then I put it in the oven and the kitchen filled with the smell of autumn. Cut into it and found it had the perfect level of springiness, just the right amount of cinnamon and nutmeg flavour.
It turned out to be a cake that you take into the office and ten minutes later start getting “Oh yes 10/10” messages. A cake that might make your flatmate mutter, “Marry me,” as they take a bite. Maybe a couple of “I feel all warm and cosy inside”s. Continue reading
Today, we’re nearly halfway through the Idiot Challenge for Idiot People. Set and voted upon by a group of university friends, the challenge forces us (the idiots) to work out in some way every day for the month of April. It’s less stupid, now, than it otherwise might have been – we’ve negotiated “lighter” exercise, like yoga, in, in an effort to give our bodies a little rest. Two weeks in, and a few people have dropped days, but thanks to a refusal to give in, most of us are going strong, despite aches and the necessity to wake up before the sun to squeeze things in. We’re all exercising more, and better, for it – I guess it’s the way we support each other. This is what I left university with: one degree, and several stubborn, idiot friends.
And then, sticky dancefloors and counting coins in the half-dark. Bubbles up my nose and a too-strong fruit taste. Half-carrying my friend’s dad back to his house after too many “mystery strength” Somerset varieties. These are my memories of most ciders.
It was university, of course, that did that too. May we never drink cider and black again.
Quite understandably, I shy away from cider a little these days, lest I get caught out by something overly sweet and too full of bubbles; still, when given the opportunity to try the new ciders from Aspall, I leapt at it because, well, I have faith in Aspall.
ontrary to the December diet I described in my last post, there are plenty of vegetables that are in season in December, as well as, you know, biscuits, cakes, and meat wrapped in more meat.
Admittedly, fruit is thin on the ground – at this point we’re mostly importing or living on booze-soaked dried fruit. No complaints here! Continue reading